Iatrogenic conchal defect secondary to auricular cartilage graft

Leela S. Mundra, Husain T. Alqattan, Meghan G. Janette, Carissa Patete, Seth R. Thaller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Cleft lip and palate are the most common craniofacial congenital malformations. Timing of the nasal repair remains somewhat controversial. Some authors perform a combined nasal and lip repair in infancy while others advocate for a staged repair with the nasal component occurring later in childhood. Frequently, secondary repair is needed to address residual nasal deformities in early adulthood. Conchal cartilage has become increasingly popular as a source of cartilage for secondary reconstruction. Donor site morbidities include hematoma formation, scar formation, and wound healing complications. To the best of the authors' knowledge, there is 1 previous report of a full through - and - through conchal defect as a complication of auricular cartilage graft harvesting. The authors report an infrequently described iatrogenic conchal defect due to cartilage harvesting managed with a single-stage reconstruction using bookend flaps. Methods: A 19-year-old female with a history of unilateral cleft lip and palate repair underwent secondary rhinoplasty using conchal cartilage. A bolster dressing was applied to the conchal harvest site. The patient was unable to attend her postoperative clinic visit and was eventually seen 2 months postoperatively with the bolster still in place. A full-thickness conchal defect was present when the bolster was removed. Results: A pressure dressing such as a bolster is commonly used to prevent hematoma formation after conchal cartilage graft harvesting. This is routinely removed during the initial postoperative visit. Prolonged placement can result in donor site complications such as a full-thickness conchal defect. Conclusion: A functional and aesthetic reconstruction of a full-thickness iatrogenic conchal defect was achieved with excellent results using a local posterior flap, and 2 anteriorly based bookend flaps for closure. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this report is the first to describe a single-stage reconstruction of an iatrogenic defect in the concha as a complication of conchal cartilage harvesting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e402-e404
JournalJournal of Craniofacial Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Cleft lip
  • iatrogenic conchal defect
  • rhinoplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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